Acheson Gosford Irvine was born in Québec in 1837. He joined the militia in 1864 and served with the Québec Rifles in Manitoba on the Red River Expeditionary Force in 1870. Following the Red River Rebellion, Irvine remained in Manitoba, where he was the provincial infantry commander. After being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1872, Irvine joined the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) in 1875, was appointed Assistant Commissioner in 1876, and became the NWMP’s fourth Commissioner from 1880 to 1886. On March 26, 1885, Commissioner Irvine led a force of 83 NWMP members and 25 civilian volunteers from Prince Albert to Fort Carlton to relieve the forces of Superintendent Leif Crozier. Before the relief column arrived, Crozier engaged in battle at Duck Lake with the Métis forces of Gabriel Dumont. Twelve of his men were killed, and eleven were wounded; four Métis and one Indian were killed, and three were wounded before Crozier’s men could retreat to Fort Carlton. The following day, Commissioner Irvine decided to abandon Fort Carlton. During the pullout, a fire broke out in the hospital, which spread to engulf the entire fort, burning it to the ground. The combined forces of Irvine and Crozier successfully retreated to Prince Albert on March 28, 1885. Irvine was criticized for his inaction during the 1885 Resistance and forced to resign in 1886. Irvine also served as a member of the Executive Council of the North-West Territories from 1882 to 1886. Following his retirement in 1886 he became warden at Stony Mountain Penitentiary in Manitoba until 1913, and then warden of Kingston Penitentiary from 1913 to 1914. He was awarded the Imperial Service order in 1902. He died in Quebec on January 9, 1916.
Daria Coneghan, Peter Borch